The Turkish national team will rely on Senol Gunes as they seek to qualify for EURO 2020.
Senol Gunes took charge of his first training session as Turkey’s head coach on Monday, more than a decade since his last stint as the team’s coach.
With the team struggling to perform, Gunes has the tough task of building chemistry between the players, many of whom have been criticized for lacking passion when playing for their nation.
The return of the Besiktas coach sees renewed hope among fans and pundits alike in Turkey, hoping the Trabzon native can bring success back to the team. Turkey’s last notable achievement was finishing third in the 2002 World Cup, which was under Gunes’ guidance.
Turkey is scheduled to line up against Albania and Moldova in their Group H qualifiers later this month. The team will travel team to Albania on March 22nd and host Moldova on March 25th.
The team has already seen several changes brought forth by Gunes with the inclusion of goalkeepers Mert Gunok (Istanbul Basaksehir), Muhammed Sengezer (Bursaspor), Ugurcan Cakir (Trabzonspor) and Sinan Bolat (Royal Antwerp).
Defense wise, Gokhan Gonul (Besiktas), Mehmet Zeki Celik (Lille), Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester City), Kaan Ayhan (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Merih Demiral (Sassuolo), Ozan Kabak (VfB Stuttgart), Hasan Ali Kaldirim (Fenerbahce) and Emre Tasdemir (Galatasaray).
National team veterans have also found a place in his list as well as promising, uncapped talent.
Deniz Turuc (Kayserispor), Efecan Karaca (Alanyaspor), Yusuf Yazici (Trabzonspor), Dorukhan Tokoz (Besiktas), Oguzhan Ozyakup (Besiktas), Guven Yalcin (Besiktas), Emre Belozoglu (Basaksehir), Irfan Can Kahveci (Basaksehir) and Mahmut Tekdemir (Basaksehir) are some of the midfielders Gunes has called up.
Mehmet Topal (Fenerbahce), Okay Yokuslu (Celta Vigo), Yunus Malli (Wolfburg), Emre Kilinc (Sivasspor) and Hakan Calhanoglu (AC Milan) conclude the midfielders invited to feature in the games scheduled for this month.
Surprisingly, Gunes has called up only two forwards; Burak Yilmaz (Besiktas) and Cenk Tosun (Everton).
While Yilmaz has been featuring and scoring regularly for Besiktas — 6 goals in 8 games — Tosun has seldom featured for Everton this season and is yet to score in 2019. His last goals for the English club were back in October 2018.
All eyes are now on Gunes and his team as they seek a positive start to their EURO 2020 journey.